Sig Stats Snapshot: Run Stop Percentage, DTs

| 5 years ago

Sig Stats Snapshot: Run Stop Percentage, DTs

Commentators like to throw around the word ‘run-stuffer’ a lot when talking about defensive tackles. Sometimes big-bodied linemen get that label based on size alone instead of actual production. That is why today I’ll be looking at which tackles are actually making plays in the run game, and which are just eating up space.

To evaluate this we will be looking at one of our Signature Stats for defensive players, Run Stop Percentage. The percentage is simply calculated by taking the total number of stops and dividing it by the number of run snaps played. We define stops as any play that constitutes a ‘failure’ for the offense. For example, a 2-yard run on first down would be considered an offensive failure because it doesn’t really improve their position. A 1-yard run on 4th-and-inches that results in a first down, on the other hand, wouldn’t be considered a failure because the offense greatly improved their position.

Run Stop Percentage is a unique Signature Stat because it has meaning for every single position on defense, and you can find them all listed in the PFF Premium section. Defensive tackle, though, is a position where run defense is at a premium. A team can still stop the run with below average corners and safeties, but a sub-par defensive tackle can ruin a run defense.

Now, on to the statistics.

3-4 vs. 4-3

In these statistics we are lumping nose tackles along with defensive tackles. They obviously are not the same position and each position will have different responsibilities depending on the team and the scheme. Of the qualifying tackles, 16 were from 3-4 teams and 61 from 4-3’s. Here is how they compared on average:

Run Stop Percentage6.946.16
Run Snaps per Tackling Opportunity9.049.73

Although the sample size is very limited it would appear as though nose tackles are in on more tackles and have higher Run Stop Percentages. The reason may be very similar to why middle linebackers have higher Run Stop Percentages and make more tackles. Since a nose tackle lines up in the middle, he’s able to make plays to both sides effectively. A defensive tackle can be taken out of a play if it is run away from him. So when looking at the stats, this is something to keep in mind.

Run Stop Percentage vs. PFF Run Grade

Even though Run Stop Percentage is probably the most indicative statistic of performance against the run, it doesn’t always equal the PFF run grade. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first reason is that a play can be impacted without making a tackle. Gerald McCoy is a player this can be said about. His run grade is sixth among defensive tackles yet he has only made 10 stops and is 80th in Run Stop Percentage. He routinely holds the point of attack, though, and rarely gives up running lanes.

The second reason is that good run defense isn’t always about making plays, sometimes it is about not giving up plays. The best example of this is probably Henry Melton. He has the second-highest Run Stop Percentage yet a negative PFF run grade. Melton loves to get upfield and is fantastic at it. This shows through in his pass rushing and run stop statistics. He loves to get upfield so much that he’ll sometimes get pushed easily out of a hole, which is a no-no.

The Top 20

RankNameTeamRun SnapsStopsStop %
1Aubrayo FranklinSD1141412.3
2Henry MeltonCHI1491812.1
3Mike MartinTEN1261511.9
4Geno AtkinsCIN1882111.2
5Fletcher CoxPHI1351410.4
6Terrence CodyBLT1371410.2
7Earl MitchellHST1201210.0
8Brandon MebaneSEA206209.7
9Jay RatliffDAL8789.2
10Dan WilliamsARZ168158.9
11Dontari PoeKC205188.8
12Akiem HicksNO137128.8
13Paul SoliaiMIA202178.4
14Jermelle CudjoSL119108.4
15Kenrick EllisNYJ9888.2
16Jurrell CaseyTEN234198.1
17Richard SeymourOAK128107.8
18Spencer JohnsonBUF7867.7
19Justin BannanDEN211167.6
20Ahtyba RubinCLV145117.6


The Bottom 20

RankNameTeamRun SnapsStopsStop %
58Gerald McCoyTB210104.8
59Terrance KnightonJAX212104.7
60Kevin WilliamsMIN19694.6
61Roy MillerTB17584.6
62Christian BallardMIN10854.6
63Sen'Derrick MarksTEN18684.3
64Sammie Lee HillDET12054.2
65Tommy KellyOAK22294.1
66Casey HamptonPIT17274.1
67Peria JerryATL15263.9
68Barry CofieldWAS15663.8
69Corey PetersATL7933.8
70Vance WalkerATL14953.4
71Kendall LangfordSL20973.3
72Billy WinnCLV18063.3
73Ron EdwardsCAR15753.2
74Ma'ake KemoeatuBLT17152.9
75Alan BranchSEA18652.7
76Markus KuhnNYG7922.5
77Sione FuaCAR8222.4


Follow Mike on Twitter: @PFF_MikeRenner

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Brian

    Can you add a column showing last years RSP for each player?

    • Mike Renner

      Love the idea, I’ll do it for next weeks sig stat snapshot.

  • dave

    Aubrayo Franklin is outstanding in the right defense….

  • Tropical Gene

    If a player is so feared by playcallers that teams run away from him more often than others, won’t that lower tun stop percentage? See sole good tackles on the lower end of the spectrum

    • JJ

      That’s a good point, there are too many variables at play here.

      • Jimbo

        The author explicitly states that low run stop percentage doesn’t necessarily lead to bad grades (Gerald McCoy). That said, this IS a common criticism/concern of PFF grades- that there may some unaccounted for value in forcing the opposing team to game plan around a particularly good player. It’d be great to have an article addressing this concern (if there isn’t one already).

        • Mike Renner

          Tropical Gene: I tried to address that a little bit here, and did it even more when I looked at Linebackers earlier this season. Yes this percentage isn’t necessarily indicative as teams may run outside or away from more against dominant interior lineman(I think highlighted Von Miller as a good example of this for LB’s). So Run Stop % doesn’t explicitly say how good they are, just if they are actually making the plays.

          Jimbo: Our grades are given on a per opportunity type basis. That means that on a stretch play to the right, the opposite side end and tackle will not be downgraded on a big run because they didn’t have a chance to make a play. Now there is intrinsic value to being feared that guys the dominant guys bring, but they are the same guys who are performing when given an opportunity to make a play. So their grades reflect that performance. I don’t know if we have any articles on it, but it would be interesting thing to look at. Maybe single out elite players and analyze how they are attacked(i.e. how often JJ Watt is double teamed, pass attempts at Ed Reed/Darelle Revis, safety help on Calvin Johnson etc.). I know we did a breakdown earlier about how the Bears stopped JJ Watt, but that was one game, and a whole season’s worth of data would be nice to analyze.

          Hopefully that all made sense and addressed both your concerns. Thanks to all you guys for reading and if you had any ideas for future article topics or any more concerns I’d be happy to hear them!

          • JJ

            What about dividing each grade category by snap count? that way you can compare averages instead of cumulative data.

  • Ken

    Would you rather have higher run grade or run stop percentage for interior D lineman?

    • Mike Renner

      Grade is more representative because its actually watching every play and as I pointed out takes into account plays that are impacted without making a tackle.

      That being said I think RSP has its place in talent evaluation. Guys like Henry Melton, Jay Ratliff, and Dontari Poe all have negative run grades, but you don’t make that high of a RSP without talent. High RSP shows an ability to stop the run IMO.

  • Hunter Malhotra

    i think i found a better formula to calculate the run stop percentage for theese players, i found a snap counts page here which says the percentage of and total snaps that all players play on, i saw casey hampton played 495 snaps or 50% of all plays, the steelers had 391 rushing attempts during the 2012 season, which means casey hampton was on the field during 195 run plays, and he had 25 run stops out of the 195 attempts, which gives him a 12.82% run stop rate